The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Six of nine council seats up for election this year; one seat, Jerry McGrane’s, now has a race

In City Hall on May 4, 2009 at 2:02 pm

We have a City Hall council race.

Kathy Potts, a self-described homemaker and community activist who ran unsuccessfully last fall as a Republican for a spot in the Iowa Legislature, will compete to unseat incumbent Jerry McGrane for the District 3 seat on the City Council.

Potts, 50, who grew up in Mississippi, came to Cedar Rapids in 1999 with her husband, Tom, and four children when her husband took at job with Rockwell Collins.

If elected, she said she will listen to constituents, work hard to serve them and will see what she can do to see that the city depends more on local experts and less on out-of-state consultants to help on city projects.

She calls the current council “indecisive,” “lacking in leadership” and sometimes focused on matters that aren’t important.

Potts, of 1118 First St. SW, gives the council an average grade on flood recovery.

She and her family had water in their basement following the June 2008 flood, though she notes that they were fortunate compared to others nearby and many others in the city. An adult son and his wife now live with her and her husband because of flood damage to their residence, The Roosevelt apartment building downtown.

Cedar Rapids often is said to have — whether real or imagined — a west side and east side divided by the Cedar River, and the District 3 council district is the only one of the city’s five council districts with precincts on both sides of the river. Potts says both sides of the river are the same to her.

She calls District 3 a diverse district with neighborhoods and areas of differing income levels as well as the downtown.

She says she wants the city to work to keep and create jobs so that her children and their children can stay in the city.

Part of the Wellington Heights Neighborhood is in the District 3 council district, but Potts says she can’t find a bad part of that neighborhood no matter how hard she looks. She says there may be three or four bad houses here and there, but there isn’t a bad neighborhood, she says. She does not want the Police Department to get “heavy-handed” in reaction to a recent flurry of neighborhood crime, she says.

Potts says she is not running against incumbent McGrane, 69, a retiree and former Oak Hill Jackson Neighborhood Association president, but rather running to show voters what she has to offer.

“Jerry’s a nice guy,” she says.

Potts becomes just the third candidate to make it known publicly that she or he is running for a seat on the council. Six of nine council seats are up for a vote in the Nov. 3 election.

In addition to McGrane, Ron Corbett also has announced he is running for a spot on the council. Corbett, 48, vice president of trucking firm CRST Inc., wants to be mayor.

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